June 28, 2017

Wisp with a Twist

Cercis canadensis

Janine Pineo Photo | Cercis canadensis

THE WEEKEND EDITION (So big it covers two days)

From a distance, the color of the flowers was just enough to catch the eye. A moment of looking revealed that there was an interesting plant growing next to the green shed in the far corner of the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamental Trial Garden in Orono. It took some doing, but a tag finally emerged that read Cercis canadensis. That didn’t ring a bell, so an online search revealed the most interesting tidbits of information. Specifically, flowers that look remarkably like this lavender pink-blossoming redbud was discovered in Westfield, N.Y., in 1991, growing in the garden of Connie Covey. It was named Covey for that reason, but then a patent got involved and it is also known as ‘Lavender Twist.’ Since the tag doesn’t state it is, it might also be ‘Appalachian Red.’ The reason for dithering is simple: the lavender version is a weeping tree growing only 5 to 6 feet tall, while the red version (which is pink and fuchsia) grows much bigger: 15-25 feet tall and a matching spread. The one at the garden is much bigger and doesn’t weep, but the flowers look more lavender. We’re thinking it’s ‘Appalachian Red’ since colors can be a notoriously subjective area.  The best news? Either of those redbuds is hardy to Zone 4, which means Maine needs more of this spring eye candy no matter its form.

Cercis canadensis

Janine Pineo Photo | Cercis canadensis